Dogfennel Eupatorium capillifolium

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
sneeze weed


The plant known as dogfennel has a very distinctive and airy appearance. It is characterized by its finely-textured, thread-like leaves that give it a feathery look. These leaves are typically green and may have a slightly fuzzy texture. The plant blooms with clusters of small, whitish flowers that are arranged in a flat-topped or slightly rounded shape, giving them a delicate and frothy appearance. The flower clusters are often quite attractive and can add a soft, ethereal quality to the landscape. The stems of dogfennel are slender and may have a slightly reddish tint, creating a nice contrast with the green leaves and white flowers. This combination of fine foliage and dainty flowers gives dogfennel a wispy, wildflower-like charm.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Dogfennel, Elegant Feather, Eastern Rough Boneset, Prairie Eupatory

    • Common names

      Eupatorium foeniculaceum Walter, Eupatorium villosum Sw., Uncasia filiformis (Walter) Greene, Uncasia villosa (Sw.) Greene.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) is considered mildly toxic to humans. If ingested, the plant can cause oral irritation, salivation, and gastrointestinal upset, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In rare cases, it may also cause liver damage. Avoid ingesting any part of the plant.

    • To pets

      Dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) is also toxic to pets. If a pet consumes parts of the plant, they may experience similar symptoms to humans including oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. Ingestion can also lead to liver damage in animals, similar to that in humans, so it is important to prevent pets from consuming any part of the plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-6 feet (0.6-1.8 meters)

    • Spread

      2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Wildlife Habitat: Eupatorium capillifolium, commonly known as dogfennel, provides a natural habitat and food source for various types of wildlife, including butterflies and other beneficial insects.
    • Erosion Control: The extensive root system of dogfennel helps stabilize soil, reducing erosion particularly in areas where vegetation is sparse.
    • Ornamental Use: With its feathery foliage and attractive clusters of small white flowers, dogfennel can be used as an ornamental plant in natural-style landscapes and wildflower gardens.
    • Aroma: Dogfennel releases a distinct fragrance that some people find pleasant and can use in aromatic applications or as a natural air freshener.
    • Drought Tolerance: The plant is drought-resistant, making it suitable for xeriscaping and landscapes that aim to minimize water use.
    • Pasture Management: Dogfennel can be used as an indicator of soil health and pasture conditions, as it commonly grows in overgrazed or nutrient-deficient soil.
    • Nectar Source: It serves as a nectar source for bees and other pollinators, playing a role in supporting local ecosystems and agricultural productivity nearby.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antipyretic: Traditionally used to reduce fever.
    • Diaphoretic: May induce sweating and help in reducing fevers.
    • Carminative: Suggested to alleviate gas and bloating in the digestive system.
    • Stimulant: Believed to increase bodily functions or energy levels.
    • Diuretic: May promote the increased production of urine, aiding in detoxification.
    • Expectorant: Could help in loosening phlegm or mucus from the lungs and respiratory tract.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Erosion Control: Dogfennel can be used to stabilize soil and prevent erosion due to its dense root system.
    • Livestock Bedding: The plant's foliage, when dried, can be used as bedding material in livestock pens for its absorbent properties.
    • Garden Borders: Due to its height and feathery foliage, dogfennel can be planted as a natural border in gardens.
    • Green Manure: Dogfennel can be turned into the soil as green manure, providing organic matter and nutrients as it decomposes.
    • Insect Repellent: The aromatic compounds in dogfennel can act as a natural insect repellent in gardens and outdoor living spaces.
    • Biomass Production: As a fast-growing plant, dogfennel can be harvested for biomass, which is useful in the production of bioenergy or compost.
    • Wildlife Habitat: Dogfennel can provide food and cover for various wildlife species, supporting biodiversity.
    • Decorative Arrangements: Dried dogfennel stalks and flowers can be used in decorative arrangements for rustic and natural-themed decor.
    • Dye Production: The plant can be used to extract natural dyes for coloring fabrics and other materials.
    • Companion Planting: Dogfennel may be used in companion planting to repel certain pests from more valuable crops.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Dogfennel is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Dogfennel is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Healing: Eupatorium capillifolium, commonly known as Dogfennel, is a plant that has traditionally been used in herbal medicine, often symbolizing health and healing.
    • Protection: In some cultures, Dogfennel has been used to make protective wreaths and talismans, believed to ward off negative energies and provide psychic protection.
    • Persistence: As a hardy and resilient plant, Dogfennel often symbolizes persistence and the ability to thrive in challenging conditions.
    • Adaptability: Due to its propensity to grow in a variety of environments, Dogfennel can represent adaptability and flexibility.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Late summer to early fall
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) prefers consistent moisture and should be watered deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather conditions. During hot, dry periods, increase watering to every two to three days to prevent stress. An approximate amount would be 1 to 1.5 gallons per watering for an average-sized plant to ensure the soil is moist but not waterlogged. In the winter or during periods of rain, reduce watering to prevent root rot. Ensure the plant has well-draining soil to avoid excess water retention.

  • sunLight

    Dogfennel thrives in full sunlight, so the ideal spot for this plant would be an area where it receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. However, it can tolerate partial shade, particularly in hot climates where the afternoon sun can be intense. Ensure the plant is positioned away from taller structures or trees that might block its access to sunlight for optimal growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Dogfennel can withstand a range of temperatures and is quite hardy. It can survive minimum temperatures down to about 30 degrees Fahrenheit, while the maximum temperature tolerance can be well over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature range for vigorous growth would be between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It is generally resilient to the temperature fluctuations common in the areas where it grows.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Dogfennel is primarily done to control its size and shape, as it can become unruly if left unattended. It's best to prune in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Prune up to one-third of the plant to maintain its form and encourage bushier growth. Remove any dead or damaged stems to promote the plant's overall health. Pruning can be done annually or as needed when the plant appears overgrown.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    Dog Fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) thrives in a well-draining soil mixture rich in organic matter with a pH range of 5.0 to 7.0. A good recipe would be a blend of loamy garden soil, compost, and perlite or sand to facilitate drainage. Regularly enriched soil with compost or a balanced fertilizer will support its growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Dog Fennel generally does not require frequent repotting; it can be repotted every 2 to 3 years or when the plant outgrows its pot. It's best to repot in the spring, before the onset of the growing season, to minimize stress on the plant.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Dog Fennel prefers moderate humidity levels but is somewhat adaptable to different humidity conditions. It can tolerate the humidity levels typically found in most homes without needing any special adjustments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, good air circulation, and infrequent watering.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in sun to partial shade; water moderately.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) begins its life cycle as a seed that germinates in late winter to early spring. The plant emerges as a seedling and rapidly grows into a tall, herbaceous perennial with fine, feathery foliage. During the growing season, dogfennel develops a sturdy stem and can reach heights of 1 to 2 meters, depending on conditions. By late summer to fall, it produces clusters of small, fluffy, white flowers that are pollinated by insects, leading to the production of seeds. After flowering, the plant dies back with the onset of winter, although in warmer climates it may remain semi-evergreen. The cycle is completed as the seeds disperse, often aided by wind, ensuring the continuation of the species in the following growing season.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late summer to early fall

    • The most popular method of propagation for Dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) is through seed sowing. Optimal time to sow seeds is in the late fall to early spring when the temperatures are cool, which provides a natural stratification period. The seeds should be sown on the surface of a well-draining soil mix as they require light to germinate effectively. It's crucial to just lightly press them into the soil without covering them. Once sown, the tray or pot should be kept moist until germination, which may take a few weeks. For successful seedling development, providing adequate light and keeping the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, is important. Seedlings can be transplanted to their final position once the risk of frost has passed and they have developed a strong root system.